How to achieve the best results from your PPM Implementation
Achieving a successful Project Management Software Implementation brings tangible benefits to your business. If you have a product that fits your needs, a workforce that is enthused to use the software, and a business process that meshes with the product, then the implementation should be smooth and the results excellent.
However, there can sometimes be some hurdles to clear to achieve a successful implementation. We have identified a few key issues which often trip companies up on the journey, but with some foresight and planning, they should be easily dealt with. Plan for these pitfalls now to ensure a great result at the point of implementation.
1: Lack of leadership buy-in to the process
The senior leaders set the tone in an organization. They decide what should and shouldn’t be prioritized, draw up the business plans that dictate the cadence of work across the organization, and control the messaging that goes out to staff.
It’s only natural, then, that a lack of senior leadership buy-in to any project management software implementation process can damage the chances of success. If there are inadequate resources committed to the project or a lack of understanding of the benefits of the transition, then there can be a negative knock-on effect elsewhere in the implementation process.
It’s crucial, therefore, to get senior leaders onboard at the earliest possible opportunity. Articulating the beneficial impact of having a more effective and efficient PPM software solution, and allowing them to explore the various improvements that an upgraded system would bring, should help achieve buy-in. The end goal is executive-level sponsorship of the implementation project.
Senior leadership buy-in is crucial to success
2: Poor communication
Time and again, communication is mentioned as a critical element of any software deployment. It’s also true for PPM implementation: if the organization isn’t clear about the process and the reasons behind it, you will struggle to achieve widespread adoption and use. This makes poor communication a key potential pitfall.
What ‘good’ communication means is a flexible concept, however. In some contexts, it might be enough to use email messages to brief staff and explain the background to the project. In others, a more hands-on approach might be needed, with seminars and focus groups being used to gather intelligence on business needs, to explain the benefits of a new PPM system, and to explore the rationale behind any change.
An informed and trained workforce that feels involved in the process is much more likely to adopt the new technology with enthusiasm and speed, thus maximizing the benefits of the transition.
3: Not calling in the experts
It can be tempting to approach the implementation of new project management software as a process that can be managed in-house without any external guidance or support.
However, while your project management capabilities may be really strong, there are some technical elements around the implementation of PPM software such as scoping business requirements, understanding the functionality of various solutions etc., which fall outside of typical project management experience.
Working alongside an expert partner when planning your implementation will save you time and money in the long run. The position to avoid is one of trial and error, where you have to adjust your approach as you go along. This can be costly and cause slippages in the schedule. Calling on advice from a qualified source from the start will help ensure this doesn’t happen.
Calling in expert guidance at an early stage will bring benefits throughout the process
4: Not articulating the benefits of the project management software implementation
Linked to the second pitfall of poor communication, the implication of not articulating the benefits of your PPM implementation can lead to problems when it comes to deployment.
This is less about forcing staff to use a new system, but more about making staff want to use a new system.
People tend to be quite resistant to change, especially when that change means they will have to upskill and potentially learn about a new operating system. The key to overcoming this resistance is focusing on the ‘Why’: Why should the organization implement this new software? What will the benefits be in terms of time, costs, ease of use, business process? Once these benefits are made clear, staff will be more enthusiastic about engaging in the process and realizing some of those benefits, both personally and on behalf of the organization.
5: Not matching the software to your business need
A new software solution will not solve any project management problems in isolation. Instead, any new piece of software has to be carefully chosen to integrate with existing processes, iron out identified issues, and improve the operability of the business.
A good implementation will take account of what’s already working well in your organization as well as what needs to be improved, and then introduce a solution that deals with the improvements while preserving the core good practice that already exists.
Once again, this points back to the importance of working with an expert partner to plan your implementation; a critical friend to help evaluate issues and design a solution that helps solve them is invaluable in this situation.
DRMcNatty can help you achieve a successful Project Management Software Implementation
The pitfalls of this type of software implementation are easily surmountable. Understanding the issues that might exist on the way to implementation means that you can deal with those issues, and more effectively avoid them.
At DRMcNatty, we have expert staff who can advise you on the best way to move through the process, working alongside your in-house team to design an implementation plan and gain organizational buy-in. Contact our team for a straightforward discussion about the ways we can help your implementation process succeed.